5 of 10 regions in New York state reopen, watch as Gov. Cuomo hosts coronavirus update (May 15)
With more than 343,000 confirmed cases, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo offers his coronavirus briefing on May 15, 2020.
Friday. You have the weekend off. Oh, no, you won't. That's right. Let's take a look and see where we are today. Total number of hospitalizations down. It's the way we like to see it rolling average down. It's the way we like to see it changing. Intubation is down. That's the way we like to see it. Number of new cases up. We don't like to see that, but it's only up a tick. And again, Ah, these numbers tend to bounce, but it's been a slow decline. There's no doubt about that. And you see there's been several plateaus in the decline way are very curious to find out where that number winds up, how low the new cases go. We've done a lot of research as you know, those new cases, mostly coming from people who are at home. So we're talking about home spread more than at work more than first responders, more than essential personnel on that's the hardest place to control. The spread is when a person's literally at home right. There are very few precautions. It's all about personal behavior. That's where those cases air coming from. Number of deaths is down, but still painful. 132. We are right about where we were when we started this number of lives lost. We go right back to March 27th and that's when we really first started this miserable journey. Good news again. If you look at New York, are curve is down. Congratulations, New Yorkers. And actually the curve and the rest of the nation is up eso while cases air increasing. Of course, the country, the number of cases in New York were actually going down. And that's remarkable in some ways because we had more cases than anyone else. Not because there's anything particular in the air in New York, but because we had people coming from Europe bringing the virus at a time when no one knew the virus had moved from China to Europe, and we had three million Europeans. Come January, February March, before we did the ban on European travel and those flights came to the East Coast and they landed at JFK Airport, which was one of the funnel airports, If you remember, so the problem had nothing to do with us, but we were then tasked with resolving it and new Yorkers stepped up to the plate and have done a great job, a question that was on reopening. We're gonna open half the regions in the state today, five regions out of 10. They are the regions that meet the numerical criteria. There's no politics to this judgment. There's no arbitrary nature to this judgment. It's all on the numbers. Seven criteria, which basically measured the infection rate, hospitalization rate, testing rate, etcetera. And that's how the decision is made for those regions that don't qualified open. Today, we're extending what's called the New York Pause Order, which is the close down of services and institutions that have been closed down. If a region hits its benchmark at any time, regardless of the pause order, then that region can open. We're opening phase one in those five regions today, just some points on each of those industries. Residential commercial construction will open indoor construction and outdoor masks must be worn by employees when they're six feet from one another. So they must all have masks. The employer must provide the masks, Uh, any gloves. Any equipment that the employees need on that work site must be provided by the employer There's no congregate meetings for retail businesses. Curbside pickup starts. The employees and the purchaser in the vehicle must be wearing a mask. Anyone in the vehicle must be wearing a mask. Gloves are preferred, but they're not mandated. Uh, and the employer, the store owner, must make hand sanitizer available if curbside pickup is not practicable. Uh, then in store, pick up is available, but it is in store pickup. It is not in store shopping. Its in store pickup, because curbside is not practicable, requires ordering ahead. Social distancing in the store. No more than 50% maximum maximum occupancy. Off that store for people coming there to pick up. Patrons must wear a mask. Store employees must wear a mask. Gloves. A preferred hand sanitizer has to be made available. Uh, for an individual's behavior, people ask. Well, what am I supposed to be doing? Is an individual. I'm not a store owner. I don't work construction. I understand as an employee what my requirements are. But just what do I do a normal life when you're in public and you within six feet of another person where messed that is a requirement, curbside or in store pickup, wear a mask and socially distance store owners should not let you in this store for an in store pickup if you don't have a mask. The exception is less than two years old, or some people who are medical reasons can't wear a mask in a construction or manufacturing setting. The employees must wear a mask whenever they can't socially distance, and the employer has to meet certain precautions, which they said they would when they reopened. Under this in private, people ask, What should I do? Well, then you have our best advice, but in private is private. What you do in your home. Would you do with your family what you do with your personal relationships, your friendships. We've talked about exposure to senior citizens and how you should be careful to vulnerable populations. But there were no government requirements on what you do in your home, etcetera, the responsibility for local officials and what we call the regional control center. Local officials have to enforce business compliance and social distancing. These businesses are opening subject to saying they will comply with safety precautions. Local officials have to make sure they're followed a za well, a social distancing guidelines for individuals. The regional control center will have a daily morning meeting with a review and monitor the infection testing and hospitalization rates. And I can't stress this enough. I was starting to turn the valve one of my favorite graphics not saying a lot. Starting to turn the activity valve. Watch what happens to the infection rate testing rate hospitalization rate. If those numbers start to move, slow down on the activity level that requires you to monitor the impact off this increase in public activity. Uh, you will see an increase. We expect to see an increase, but that increase has to be monitored and has to be controlled. We've talked about the infection rate, the rate of transmission. When the rate of transmission hits 1.1, you're headed towards a bad place. Eso monitor that rate Ah, daily and correct immediately if you see on increase in those numbers beaches we've talked about coordinating with other states on this has happened in other parts of the country. Other parts of the world. Also, we are one multi state region. What one state does will affect other states. That is probably nowhere more clear than when it comes to opening beaches. One state doesn't open beaches. Another state does open beaches. You will see people flood to that state. Georgia opened barbershops. People drove from out of state to Georgia to get a haircut. Uh, if New Jersey opens beaches or Connecticut opens beaches and we didn't open beaches, you would see a flood of people to Connecticut and New Jersey on our relationship and responsibility to our other states. Neighboring states is important. We want what's best for New York, but we want was best for New Yorkers. It's not in New York's interest to have New Yorkers going toe a Jersey beach, which is now going to be overcrowded because you have people from New York and New Jersey. Going to that beach is not in our interest that people going to Connecticut beaches if those beaches air, then going to be overcrowded. So we've worked with New Jersey and Connecticut. We've come up with an agreement, Uh, that accommodates old needs. Andi. It was done in good faith. The agreement is New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware will all be opening beaches for the Memorial Day weekend. States will have different specific rules about what happens on that beach. The little B plus or minus, but the rule basically in the same ballpark. They're opening Friday of Memorial Day weekend state beaches that includes local beaches, Lake shores. It does not include pools. Pools are closed but no more than 50% capacity. And that will be done at parking areas, entrance areas, exit areas, etcetera, no group contact activities. No volleyball, no football. Nothing like that. Um, areas of social gathering would be closed. Picnic areas, etcetera, playgrounds, pavilions, arcades. Social distancing will be enforced for employees and for visitors. Masks must be worn by employees, and visitors must have masks and wear them of when they can't socially distance. Uh, at this point, concessions will not not be operating. We don't want long lines of people waiting on concessions for concession stands on one. Ensure that staff levels are adequate to enforce these measures on the beaches that are controlled by cities, towns, counties, municipal beaches, municipal lakes, the local government can decide to open for stay closed. If they choose to open, they must adopt the state's requirements at a minimum, and the chief executive can decide to do that. If they want to impose additional requirements above and beyond the state requirements, they are free to do that. Uh, that will be done by a home rule message on, And those decisions should be made by the locals by Wednesday, May 20th so we can plan accordingly if a locality doesn't open beaches. We need to know that because then we'll have more demand on the state beaches in that area. If they do open beaches, we need to know that also just to understand the flow, the traffic and where we have to staff up again, state beaches will be open on Friday before Memorial Day. Uh, last point reopening must be smart, and we have to keep this in focus. Remember, learn from the lessons that are around us. We've seen other countries open. We've seen cities open. We've seen them than close because the activity level went up too high too fast. Uh, we see countries like Germany that are reopening, but they're seeing that infection rate go up, and they're monitoring it very closely. We expect the rate to go up, but it has to go up at a rate that we can control, right? And the the risk is the activity level increases quickly and then the virus spreads quickly. You overwhelm the health system, etcetera. So this has to be monitored, monitored very closely. Ah, lot of it is going to fall on the local governments and we need them to really step up here on the compliance for businesses and for individuals. The testing and tracing is one of the key monitors on that dashboard. They all meet the minimum testing and tracing requirements, but they have to do it also. And it has to be done every day. And that is a logistical operational challenge. We're working with them to do that. But that has to be done every day and the monitoring of all the indicators again on quick reaction, these indicators will be online for everyone, not just for local governments. There on the website, I would suggest everyone looked at them, look at them for their county, their region, so they know exactly where they are. Every day they're updated daily. And how this goes is up to all of us stone to stone across the morass, as my father used to say, You're going through a morass and we are in a morass. There's no doubt about that. Find the stone, find firm footing and step onto that stone. Then you find the next stone. Then you find the next stop. That's what we have been doing. This reopening is the most data driven fact specific, science driven reopening that has been done, period. It's all about the numbers in the facts. Uh, that's right. Second Stone is now You start to reopen, do it intelligently and do it with discipline and not with emotion. And government has to be there and government has to perform. But to be up to all of us, it means it has to be up to each of us at the same time, right? And that is very important here that each of us understands our responsibility. And that's how this is worked from Day one. Government, government, government. It's not about government. It's about what people have decided to do in this situation. How did we bend that curve when they write the history books? They're going to write about the how New York turned that curve, and that was done by New Yorkers. It was not a government The lack No government could tell. 19 million people stay at home. Dont goto work. Wear a mask socially distance. That's not government action. That's social action, those the people who choose to do the responsible thing, I think because we gave them the facts, but they reacted intelligently. They responded responsibly. And we have to continue that, uh, you know, with this virus, I just want to say on a personal level. And I want to make sure everybody understands this This The facts here have been changing, and the facts have only been getting more negative. This started that it was only going to attack, attack vulnerable people, seniors, people with co morbidity ease. I was speaking to Doctor today about a young person who passed away of a stroke from Cove. It No underlying conditions, nothing else. It was a stroke. No respiratory illness. Well, what happened? Well, apparently the virus can affect the heart and the liver and other organs besides the lungs. And we didn't know that Children weren't going to be infected. Except now we're studying 100 cases where Children are in fact infected, affected by the virus on some of them very serious and that 100 cases, ah wager that's going toe only go up and it's going to be much more widespread than anyone thinks. So, uh, the amount of personal responsibility here to keep oneself safe to keep one's family safe. I cannot stress highly enough. Do not underestimate this virus and do not play with this virus. I can be a symptomatic and not know that I have the virus, but I can put my hand down on this table today. You can come touch this table three hours from now and pick up the virus. I can walk into a store to pick up a package, not know that I have the virus. Put my hand under stainless steel count stainless steel counter. You can come in the store the next day, put your hand on that counter and pick up the virus. I don't care how diligent the store owner is and how maney masks do you wear. That's how powerful this virus is. Well, it's only old people. No. Tell that to the families who have eight year old and seven year old in the hospital. Uh, tell that to the 21 year old girl's family, where the 21 year old girl passed away. Everyone is vulnerable to this virus. Everyone and government can't keep you safe on Lee. You can keep yourself safe, But when you keep yourself safe and I keep myself say, that's the way we keep all of us safe that's the story of life. And that's the story of where we are today. And that's a story of being New York tough, which is tough. But it's smart and united and disciplined, and it's being loving and responsible for one another. Questions it spread. It's recently cases. We have that policy. First of all, the staff were telling me that they're being moved around, so we're afraid back there so that to be that they they also concerned because social distancing in this community, what is your What is your response? They feel they're not feeling this community of this table is getting is getting Yeah, I think that basic point is what we've been talking about rights. The same with the nursing home. It's a prison. It's any congregate facility. There's no doubt where you have a congregation of people. That is a place where the virus can transfer, whether it's a meat processing plant with 1000 employees. It wasn't about the meat in the meat processing plant, right? It was just 1000 employees. We have an agriculture plant in Madison County. Uh, where was about the density of the employees? Also, because you had four to a room and it's the density. We started this with the hot spot in New Rochelle, Westchester, before they even called that a hot spot. It was the 1st 1 in the country. It was one person super spreader, New term who was with a couple of 100 people at a gathering, and dozens got sick. So the congregant facilities off people. That's all it is. It's just wherever you have a density, a gathering off people that is a problematic area, nursing homes worst. But if you have a community group home and you have six people living in a house, uh, that is a place where you want to watch. Six people in the house is not as bad as you know, 1000 people in a prison or 300 a nursing home. But any place where you have a gathering on the a moving of staff. Uh, I don't I don't know if that's right or wrong or normal operating procedure or not, but we can check, but I just don't know how many weeks will New York needs to get to test all nursing home staffers and essential workers on the nursing home? Staffing questions? Does New York have a current capacity to test as many nursing home staffers as you're requiring to do them? Todo And if not, how old? Your administration mixture there passing you get there when, as president filled his end of the bargain when he told you that he was gonna be helping with the supply chain issues protesting manufacturers. Okay, it's a lot there. Let's unpack it once every time. I don't know the policy at OPD w d D. But will check with the staffing policy is and we'll check if there was a change on the testing we are. We're doing more testing than any state in the United States. We're doing more testing per capita than many countries on the globe, Um, and where we're ramping up dramatically and quickly, we have to test staff in nursing homes. We have the most aggressive requirement. I understand that two tests for every staff member per week on that is the most aggressive. But this is the most vulnerable. Population testing is much more available than it's ever been in the state, their parts of the state where we have more testing capacity than people are using. We have drive throughs, drugstores that a performance tests who say they don't have enough clients coming in. Believe it or not, we're getting more testing kits. We're sending about 120,000 out to nursing homes now, so it is something we have to do and we will do. But we we need. This is one of those situations where it's never been done before. It is very hard to do, but we have to do it and we will do just like we have done all, of course, the board. As far as what the federal government's doing, the federal government is helping the supply chain for the national manufacturers. The way this works is the end user. Is this a nursing home or a driving or a pharmacy? They are implementing the test. They purchased the test from a national manufacturer and they purchased the machine from the national manufacturer. There are number of machines and depending on the machine you purchase. You need the test kit that works for that machine, so it starts to get complicated because you can have six or seven different types of machines that you bought. Each machine has its own test kit. It's like when you buy a printer and then you have to buy the cartridge for that printer. And some of the national manufacturers can't provide test kits. They're just overwhelmed in the test kits. And the federal government is working on those supply chain issues. For those national manufacturers, it's working much better than it has. But I don't think anyone would say with their yet You have the capacity to right now in New York to test all nursing home staffers places like yes or no. Is the federal government fulfilling its end of the bargain to help on the supply? Asked the federal girl Coming up, e. No, that's okay. If I could just punctuate the governor's point. Since we announced last Sunday that we were going to require two tests a week for a nursing home staff, we have worked with the commercial labs, bio reference, lab core and quest to get additional capacity. And the state has reserved 30,000 tests per day to be dedicated, Just a nursing home staff. So that's 200. That 10,000 tests a week that we have now secured it will just be dedicated to going to this nursing home issue on the Wadsworth situation. Yes, we understand everyone would like to use Wadsworth. They can. There's not the capacity for that. Which is why they're gonna have to go to the drive throughs and why they're going to have to if they can't accommodate the standard on their own work with us to use some of the capacity that we have now reserved through the three commercial laps. Remember this Wadsworth is one lab. It's the state lab. There are 300 labs that operated in the state. Right. Wadsworth, we're proud of its a state land, but there are 300 labs, and, uh, we need all 300 labs operational to meet this value. The only way you get the volume up this high is all those labs are at maximum capacity. No one lab could come anywhere near that. Even with all 300 labs working and doing seven days a week, Uh, you're still not at the level you need. And then those 300 labs will say they're gonna have a problem on the back end getting the supplies. That's where the federal government comes in. Can you explain your rationale for reopening the beaches? Considering the potential kind of public health peril there, What was what was the calculation? The calculation is I'm trying to work in conformity or accommodation with our surrounding states. They were going toe open beaches. Um, and if New York did not open beaches, you would see an influx of be of people to the Jersey Shore, Connecticut, etcetera. That would put New Yorkers than in jeopardy there, because the problem of the beach is if it's overcrowded, right? If it's 50% of of occupancy, you're fine. The problem is, if you overcrowd at the beach and if other states were opening in New York, wasn't you? Would have millions of people from New York flooding those beaches. There would be a problem, and that wouldn't help anyone. The safeguard is this. First we open them with safeguards 50% etcetera. Second, if there is a problem and the locals do not enforce those regulations, we will close those beaches immediately. Governor Murphy kind of forced her hand in this by announcing yesterday that he'd open the beaches. No, no, no. We've been telling them about beaches for a long time. We talk to them about everything on a daily basis. Yeah, but we knew exactly what he was going to do on. We had been talking about it now they didn't force my head. Look, as governor, he has no jurisdiction in New York. I could say we're not. We're not opening our beaches. If we don't open our beaches, people will go to New Jersey beaches. I promise you that they'll go to Connecticut beaches and then you have a situation where you have four million New Yorkers going to Jersey beaches, Connecticut beaches. What happens to those beaches? Well, who cares? They're in New Jersey and Connecticut, Matt. First of all I care and those of New Yorkers in those beaches. So, uh, I think this is plan makes the most sense. Is there a risk that the locals won't enforce the rules? Yes or the the beach will get overwhelmed and they can enforce the rules. Rules. Yes, that is a risk. And we have eyes wide open. And if that happens, we will close the beach the next day. Yes, yes. So just to be clear, Jessie, we had the multistate agreement in place yesterday when Governor Murphy spoke at a high level that the States had been coordinating. That wasn't something that they announced. And then we came to an agreement on. We were in agreement with, um US and Connecticut and Delaware prior to Governor Murphy. Speaking about that yesterday, I think Connecticut had always said the beaches, the Connecticut beaches actually were never closed. But the government is a local governments to enforce that businesses are complying with health and safety standards. Is there a way that the state's gonna give some guidance to local governments and how they can, I guess, keep businesses and check? And also there is a website that the state has. Employees can submit complaints against businesses that are not complying with these hoping safety standards what's being done with this information as well. The first of all the local governments have the guidelines on the compliance so on the business owners have it and any business that opens today in the region that can open, they sign a compliance agreement, and that compliance agreement is kept on the premises. So if there's a violation which should be enforced by the local governments, they have that business owner who agreed to operate under the following conditions, and they therefore violated that agreement on bacon be closed On that basis, to the extent we get any complaints, we forward them to the local governments. You want to add anything? Look, governments have been enforcing this on essential businesses right since the beginning of the pause order, so they'll continue to enforce under this under those same guidelines. So now they have. The guidelines will continue to enforce those the same as they have before. And as the governor said, all of the complaints that come through the hotline will be forwarded through the regional control rooms and the local governments so that they could enforce Mr John April cash today. That's before trigger your ability to actually implement cuts to local governments to school district. We don't have any federal clarity today that reports today what am I going to do about? What are you going to implement? That 20% cuts? Teoh. I hold to the belief I have faith in humanity and certain a certain level of common sense. And I believe Washington, despite their dysfunction and politics, will ultimately provide funding for state and local governments. I do not believe, even if even if you put aside common sense the survival instinct of a politician who has to run for re election this year in this state or any state affected by covert, which is most states, they will not come home and stand for re election if they don't provide funding for state and local governments because they would have created a devastating circumstance in their state if we have to cut schools, police, fire hospitals because Washington didn't provide reasonable funding when they did bail out millionaires and billionaires and rich corporations. But they're not gonna fund police and fire. I don't think any Washington official is going to come home and present that case to the people they represent, so I believe we will receive Washington funding due to the survival instinct of political officials. You have to make a decision on your own. What? What's your drop dead date for me? What is the drop dead date? So the budget there was enacted had the first benchmark was the controllers cash report that, as you mentioned, comes out today. That report confirms the estimates that the state has made, which is that we're down 14% in revenues and there will have $61 billion gap over the next four years. Now that we have, those cash numbers will look at it. As the governor mentioned, Washington has been talking about a federal bill that provides money in relief in the event that those funds don't occur. Then we would have to make those reductions. But as the governor mentioned way, believe that based on the bill that the House put in, those funds will be there in the event that they don't. Our plan would be within the month of May. We would have to then put out a plan that still would be contingent upon the receipt of federal funds. In the absence of the receipt of federal funds, 90% of the state's spending is in the areas of school aid, health care, social services, right. So as the governor points out right, we think would be irresponsible not to provide those resource is because those are the types of things that then you would have to reduce. John and John, I'm teasing you a little bit just because they like to teach. But look, I'm not taking the focus off them. They have to provide. They have to do their job, not to a press release about their job. They have to deliver federal funding to the state of New York, and I want to hold them accountable. And, you know, at one point you have to perform or not perform. Look, when I'm in this building, uh, the pass a budget or not, right with the legislature. And if the budget isn't passed on time, what? All you guys say is Oh, you failed. You didn't get it done. You're a bad person. You're not going to happen. Okay? It's binary. It's for me to say, Well, I tried my best. I really tried. We all worked hard. We stayed up late at night. Who cares? You failed. This is the analog in Washington. Either. The federal officials who passed the bill to take your business is passed. The bill to take your millionaires passed the bill to take care of all these other needs. Either you pass a bill to take care of state and local government, and that's police, firefighters and schools. Or you're gonna be responsible for the cut. And that's the fact. And that's the truth, and that's where I'm leaving it on. Then let's see if they perform tongue in cheek. Never underestimate a politician's instinct for self survival, and I do not believe they're gonna want to come home and defend the fact that they cut police, firefighters, teachers, nurses and doctors after those people just would designated heroes who saved lives during the pandemic, which happens to be true. Karen John took my question, but I have one that may be more important to New Yorkers and open. I think you're gonna find out the answer yesterday. I mean, seriously, they have boots. They have to pay for their buildings even, you know, once a month, yeah, happen. The story about the hairstylist in Kingston Did you hear that story? Barber and Kingston was operating in defiance of the close order. Infected, I think, over a dozen people you know that is a occupation of close proximity, right? You can't really socially distance into a haircut. Maybe mind you could do from six feet away. But, ah, that is, by definition, an up close and personal occupation. But hairstyling is in phase two, hairstyling and face to face to the court system announced opening upstate courthouses that service seats falling professional. What do you make there on a big one? The court system. But doing justice. If you want to talk about an essential service, just this is an essential service. People were not over from day home. Truth. They going? Yes, well, I think the first thing, obviously is to contact the physician if they have any symptoms. Concern. But it's the question. Is the precautions that the governor has mentioned about washing your hands, making sure that you are away from other individuals who are sick on all the straightforward issues that we have addressed before? You know? Well, I think that the real issue here is each person a little bit different. If somebody is has a medical condition that their doctor recommends that they are taking certain medicines, they should be sure they have the medicines, enough medicines on hand or supply If there's other devices that they used, some people use, uh, parameters are to check. If they have asthma, they should have those on in supply. So it really is tailored to each individual. But the overall precautions they should take out the things we've spoken about all along thistles where the issue of telemedicine comes into play. And we're working closely with our healthcare professionals about that, particularly in the rural areas. But even in the urban areas. Editorial editorial comment on the last question. When you ask a doctor what is the first thing someone should do when they feel ill, the answer is always going to be called the doctor. Then one last. Dan, Did you have your hand up? Yeah, somebody on Children's off where that is all, of course, the state. But it's proportionate to population, and right now it's 133 cases in New York. I'll tell you what I'm afraid of. It's not 103 cases in New York. It's just that we have seen it first, and it was deceptive the way it presented because Cove it they were all looking for respiratory illnesses. This is not a respiratory illness. This is an inflammation of the blood vessels. So it did not look or smell like a cove. It case when they went back and checked the overwhelming number of Children tested positive. Or had the antibodies close to like 90% either were positive or had the antibodies. And I think you're gonna be seeing more of this, their stories about other illnesses that are popping up. And now they're saying this covert virus does more damage in the body than we were aware of, but specifically with Children. The reason I want this point abundantly clear because this is not what we were told initially. And this is not what I told people Initially. We were told it was primarily vulnerable people in the good news is that Children seem unaffected on as a parent. That then gave me a full sense of security, uh, to now say, Oh, we were wrong about that. You're talking about my child's health Now, on my childs life, I take this very seriously, and this is a big about face, right? Uh, there was also an about face if you have the virus and you have the antibodies, your immune and you can go back to work now. Oh, maybe not. Maybe in autumn. You maybe you're a little immune. Maybe we don't know. You know, these are dramatic shifts on this virus, and I don't fault anyone because it's a learning process, etcetera. But the more we learn, the worse it is and the more we learn it's on Lee. Negative. We have not learned anything since this started that we say, Oh, that was better than we thought. I have to go to work. Thank you. You didn't ask tomorrow Saturday.